Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday's Swagilicious with Toto Knits

[And the winner is Stephny. Yay, Stephny! You have 2 days to contact me with your details and I will get your sweater sent to you.]

Chums: I've got a real goodie for you today, from a Toto Knits, an ethically made hand-knitted kiddo sweater enterprise from Kenya, via the lovely Erin Brennan Allen who fled the magazine world of NYC for a more adventurous life in Kenya. In other words she's one of those lassies who says "I want to help disadvantaged children" and actually does something about it, rather than merely bleats about the state of world at large and then orders another mojito.

Check out the gorgeosity for yourselves in these pics. These sweaters are seriously delicious. They are 100% cotton and handmade, and light enough for summer but thick enough to take you through the year. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, from plain to stripes, and there's also a completely adorable safari collection, as well as hats and booties and other sundry delightfulness. So the story behind this one is quite compelling: Erin, a gorgeous blonde American lassie, quits the first world and races off to Nairobi to fund-raise for a school for special-needs tots. There she meets Mary Wambui in 2002. Mary was teaching Arts and Crafts at the school and persuaded Erin to pick up a pair of knitting needles and they become buds.

Then Erin has her tots and gets focused on the importance of helping women find work while nurturing their families. Not so easy in Kenya, where women are often unskilled and marginalized.

After teaming up with Mary, who had raised her three sons single-handedly, Toto Knits was born. With Mary's knitting know-how, Erin's love for all things baby and their years of friendship it was a perfect partnership. Mary now trains and manages a group of twenty knitters (with help from her son Cyrus) while Erin works on the designs and marketing. Check them out: are they all not the sweetest people alive? And do you not want to JUST EAT UP Erin's baby son Tor who models the sweaters (and is therefore the tot pictured above in that darling yellow number)?

Bring him to me. On a roll. With mustard.

These sweaters are very posh and all the chicsters are gobbling them up. But you, our winning entrant, get yours for free, made from Kenya unto you and yours. Custom color and design, fergodssake. A $75 value right there and then free shipping, you lucky lady.

So, moms, put your name in the hat by writing a short and dull or long and sassy comment (each counts equally) and I will select a winner very late on Sunday night/Mon crack o'dawn. Whereupon that winner will have 24 hours to contact me by mail. And if she doesn't I will give her sweater away to someone else. 'Kay? Grand!

And may I suggest, even if you don't win, that you pop over to the Toto Knits site (mtoto means "tot" in Swahili, by the way, for those of you who don't speak Swahili as fluently as I do)...Please pop over to the site and if the sweaters aren't in your budge right now, grab a hat for fifteen bucks and give that to a preg-o friend instead of whatever lame-o thing she has on her registry. She will receive a photo of her knitter and know that she has something one-of-a-kind and that the money paid made a real difference to the life of someone else's tot.

As you can see from this and my blankie giveaway, Africa is a theme close to my otherwise crustaceous heart, 'cuz I am a native of South Africa. I completely dig these sweaters and what Erin and Mary are up to. If any of you out there have an African-made product to offer in a giveaway let me know. I am very similar to Brangelina, promoting Africa selflessly. Okay, promoting a sweater or two, and maybe not so selflessly but ANYHOO.

Put your name in the hat. This one's a goodie.

31 comments:

cathy said...

Must have this! Please?

THE WHITTINGTONS said...

i was trying to decide if the future of our child involved a nudist camp. these sweaters changed my mind. now I need one.

kim said...

Oooooh! This is beautiful. That Lion sweater reminds me of the Wizard of OZ. That would be great for my bitty boy who has recently discovered how to growl. He loves to growl. He bares his teeth and grrrrrs! for all he's worth. He does it all day long. Yesterday my four year old came up to me and said "Mom, it really freaks me out when he does that!" Maybe if he were wearing a cute lion sweater it would make the growling cute by proxy and he wouldn't scare small children anymore. It's worth a shot, dontcha think.

Bix'Mom said...

My sister just found out she is having a baby so in the spirit of selfless giving, I will give this to her if I win.
(well maybe I will...or maybe I will just get her little one one of the gorgeous hats. Hey, I never said I was like Brangelina)

mj said...

Beautiful--I love their products.

sarah said...

Oh, so cute. And isn't it easier, somehow, to be a good Mommy when they're cute?

Rebecca said...

No more bleating about the state of the world for me. What an inspiring story. Now, to convince my husband...

scooby_snax said...

This is awesome! Would love for me son...

Alexis said...

Yes, please!

Co-Jack said...

Grrrrrr Baby Grrrrrrr! My monstertots (yes I have two-do both get one-a boy and girl?) sure would love to show off their new sweater to their friends! Especially so they can fit in with all the other eco-cool tots!

P.S. Imagining crabtot dancing around the room with Mic & Keith brought tears to my eyes! You're in trouble with that one!

julianne said...

My baby will cry if I don't win her a sweater. Well, she'll cry if I do win her a sweater, but she'll be crying wearing a sweater. Sweater!

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Dog. That monkey sweater with the tail!!! I wonder if I can persuade my youngest to wear it? (she's almost eight) I knit for mine when they were wee but not so much now. I tried to hook them on knitting at Christmas with little success, alas.

Sigh...I suppose I could start a stockpile for grandchildren and just keep adding to it for the next twenty years.

~ Fall From Grace... gee, I hate it when I forget a password.

Danielle said...

Adorable!!!

I want in!

Thanks!!

KimS said...

My son would rather be naked, but that's not really an option around here. I would love a sweater for him (or for the baby girl who's to be born Monday).

cgogis said...

I am in love with these sweaters! Pick me!

Ellen W said...

With our cool Montana "summer", my son could wear one today.

Sheryl y Daniel said...

Me me me...although probably difficult to ship to the end of the world...oh well. Will oggle the site, no buying dollar´s three to one on our peso....but fun to look!
Sheryl

Wynne said...

I want one even if I don't win

Stephny said...

Wait... did you hear that? I think I just heard a little birdie say... "Hey Crabmommy! Pick me!'

Yeah, I heard it too...

julie said...

love the review of delicious sweaters for kids....have visited the site before ...would love to win
3beez at bellsouth dot net

PennyRoo said...

Adorable!

T. said...

If I could afford to buy these I'd have a closet FULL of them for my daughter. Unfortunatly, I can't. I do however have a number of friends with more money than I, who would love to save the world after seeing my girl in one and hearing the story.

laura said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I love these sweaters. And the company, icing on the amazing cake. Thanks for a great giveaway!!

Jerseygirl89 said...

First of all, you are obviously much wittier than Brangelina.
Secondly, I am pregnant with my third child. Who is destined to get NOTHING new, unless you give me one of these sweaters. I'm just sayin'.

Deeliterate said...

O CrabMommy...what a delicious sweater. Hopefully my lovey won't choke on it.

Deeliterate said...

O CrabMommy...what a delicious sweater. Hopefully my lovey won't choke on it.

mommyknows said...

Oh me! ME! Pick ME!!!

Bunny B said...

Ooo.. Lovely, lovely! Just lovely :) I'd love to win!!
xx

girlsmom said...

Kudos to Erin and Mary, what a couple of wonderful women. Thanks for spreading the word! They have a beautiful vision and a beautiful product.

Anna said...

No, no, no, not mustard, ketchup!

Lina said...

I think it's still Sunday night in your time zone. Please count me in.